JaQuan Lewis stepped up in the closing minutes of a quarterfinal that saw each team take off on extended runs and VCU got the last big one, pulling away late to defeat George Mason 71-60 on Friday in the Atlantic 10 Tournament.
Lewis had scored just five points until, with the score tied at 48-48 and under eight minutes remaining, he dialed a layup and two 3-pointers as second-seeded VCU sprinted off on a 16-4 run over the next five minutes.
The Rams (25-7) face the winner of the No. 3 seed Richmond versus No. 6 seed George Washington in the semifinals on Saturday.
De’Riante Jenkins scored a career-high 15 points for the Rams in his third game back from injury. The freshman missed 15 games after breaking his foot Jan. 3 against George Mason. Lewis made six assists, including a highlight-reel fast-break no-look behind-the-back bounce pass to Justin Tillman as VCU got off to a 12-2 start.
George Mason had a 16-2 run to tie 32-32 by halftime and the game saw 10 lead changes and nine ties until the final VCU surge.
Jalen Jenkins paced the Patriots (20-13) with 15 points. Marquise Moore finished with 11 points and 17 rebounds, grabbing 360 career boards to become George Mason’s all-time leader. His 20th double-double this season ties the NCAA record for guards with Andre Roberson (Colorado).